When I am an old man...

I will be surprised I made it that far.  If I do. 

It's not that far away.

There's a good chance, I won't.

I will consider it funny to have aches and pains. 

I already do.

I will not whine about being old. 

Or apologize for aging. 

I will consider it honorable and amazing.

I will laugh at myself for being funny looking, and bald, and having ears that stick out.

I will be proud of my past. 

I did a lot, against great odds. 

And against fierce opposition.

I will be skinny and awkward, like when I was a teenager. 

Only with more wrinkles.

I will smile a lot. 

Or not.

I won't say much. 

When I do speak, I will say thoughtful words.

I will bake sourdough bread. 

And home made pies.  

And make cornbread, and tamales.

I will putter in the garden among the bees and hens.

And grow pole beans and zucchinis. 

And grapes, and figs, and peaches.

From my beehives, I will give packages of fresh honey, to nice people.

My curses will be colorful and complex. 

And used sparingly.

And aimed at the self-righteous, and self-important, and smug.

And greedy.

I will learn Spanish.

I will not consider it an insult to say "old". 

Don't whisper "old", or use euphemisms.


I will consider "old" an honorific, respectful, and esteemed.

I will stand proud and crooked.

Like a beautiful, ancient, wizened bristlecone pine.

I will growl like an old lion.

I will tell people what I think. 

If I like them. 

If I don't, they aren't worth my effort.

My favorite shirt will be an old flannel shirt, from Goodwill or a yard sale. 

I will wear it everywhere.

My favorite hat will be a cap I already wear. 

It will be frayed and stained. 

I will wear it everywhere.

My favorite trousers will be an old pair of khakis with side pockets for pruning shears and a pocket knife.

I will wear them everywhere.

I will grow the best tomatoes in the neighborhood.

I will tell young people, stories they didn't know.

About wars they never heard of.

And great minds no one told them about.

I might make them up.

Or not. 

No one could make up a past, as interesting, as the real past.

I will quote Robert Green Ingersoll. 

And Samuel Clemens.

My loyal dog will always be by my side.

He will roll in the grass and be covered in dust.

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Comment by Joan Denoo on April 24, 2014 at 8:33pm

It gets better every time I read it. So fresh and real, no mimicking or mincing of words. Lovingly honest, surprisingly sweet, and a real treasure to save in order to revisit. Sharing it gives great pleasure as well.  

Comment by kathy: ky on April 17, 2014 at 11:22pm
I've read it several times and it makes me smile every time. I've got to print it and frame it for myself.
Comment by Daniel W on March 28, 2014 at 10:37pm
Thank you all for the nice comments... Im glad U reposted. kh ky these are my thought and words... so nice of you.
Comment by kathy: ky on March 28, 2014 at 12:53am
Sentient, I love this.
Is it yours??? It's wonderful.
Comment by Grinning Cat on March 28, 2014 at 12:27am

I did as well!

Comment by Daniel W on March 27, 2014 at 9:12pm
Joan, go right ahead. Id be honored.
Comment by Joan Denoo on March 27, 2014 at 2:34pm

Oh Daniel, I just now read this. It is just splendid! May I Twitter it? 

Comment by Randall Smith on June 23, 2013 at 7:31am

Right on, brother! Wear your life on your sleeve. And be proud of it.

Comment by Michael Penn on June 22, 2013 at 6:56am

Well said, Sentient. I've always found it funny that the devine plan says we are born with no teeth and no hair. Usually when we die that same condition has returned!

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on June 22, 2013 at 12:18am

Props, Sentient. And best wishes to see it through.


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